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Read Our Blog!

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We are so excited to officially launch our FFC blog! In it we cover everything from fitness and nutrition to wellness, community and recreation, with individual club neighborhood features sprinkled throughout.

Check out our fitness staff’s favorite 30-minute workouts and try our registered dietitians’ own recipes. Get the skinny on the best healthy restaurants and fun events in your neighborhood. Find answers to your well-being questions, like why you aren’t seeing the results you expected from your exercise routine or how exercise can really benefit your health.

If you see a topic you particularly love, let us know! If you see something missing that you’d like to know more about, let us know! The posts are primarily written by members of the FFC staff, but we welcome member input, as well!

While we can’t accept all submissions, we welcome your ideas. If you have feedback or want to contribute, please contact Allie, Social Media and Communications Coordinator, at akuopus@ffc.com.

 

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New Spring Group Fitness Schedule

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The new Spring schedules begin Monday, April 6! Spring is a time of renewal, so get ready to “Spring” into a whole new you! We have some new classes on the docket to help you inject a little spunk into your routine.

Hang 10 – Our newest seasonal signature class incorporates bodyweight exercises with glide discs as your primary piece of equipment for a fun, challenging cardiovascular and strength workout.
PiYo – This fun and challenging full-body workout fuses the muscle-sculpting, core-firming benefits of Pilates with the strength and flexibility advantages of yoga.
Trippin – Get back to basics and brush up on your jump rope skills with intervals of bodyweight, core and muscle conditioning exercises integrated with 1–2 minutes on the rope.

Visit http://ffc.com/group-fitness/ for an updated list of classes. You can search by club, instructor and class format.

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Team to End AIDS

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Did you miss your chance to run in the 2015 Chicago Marathon? Lucky for you, FFC is the exclusive marathon, half marathon and triathlon training partner for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago’s TEAM TO END AIDS (T2). Join T2 and receive automatic entry into the race! Get $24 off registration to all T2 endurance training programs by using discount code T2FFC when registering online!

Cross the finish line to help AIDS Foundation of Chicago provide housing, care and advocacy for the 43,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in Illinois. T2’s innovative coaching program will support you every step, pedal or stroke of the way as you train to finish the race of your lifetime – and raise funds to make a difference in Chicago and across the nation.

Your victory is their victory. Join the T2 family today.

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Bring Your Friends to Fitness

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Bring your friends to fitness! We know how you feel about your favorite group exercise classes, and we want you to share the love with your loved ones. Check out your club’s group fitness schedule, find a class with the BFF symbol, reserve your spot and introduce your friends* to FFC’s best!
*You may invite as many guests as you like, however, each guest will be limited to attend one free class per quarter

 

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Dash for Detection 5k Run/Walk

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Support the Rolfe Pancreatic Cancer Foundation Sunday, May 31 to increase funding for early detection of pancreatic cancer. Bring your family and friends to remember loved ones and to celebrate how far we’ve come in the fight against pancreatic cancer!

Prizes will be awarded to teams with the most members or who raise the most money. Your participation provides hope for the future. Early bird pricing through April 3. Register here.

  • $35 for adults (before April 3), $40 after
  • $15 for kids 14 and under (before April 3), $20 after
  • Day-of registration is an additional $5
  • This year there is also a Kids’ Dash! 10 am registration the morning of!
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Chicago Sport and Social Club Leagues

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Join Chicago Sport and Social Club (CSSC) this spring! This city invented 16 inch softball, but CSSC made it tradition. Rally your team and create your own legacy! With leagues running in every neighborhood any night of the week, it’s a guaranteed home run. Register now for the spring season starting this April. Don’t forget about our other league offerings including Indoor Volleyball, Soccer, Beach Volleyball, Kickball and many more!

CSSC is the largest organizer of adult sports leagues, social events and tournaments, where 100,000 active, affluent, and connected young professionals play hard and have a lot of fun. Sign up soon to meet your new best friends!

 

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Train and Race with the Endurance Club

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TRAIN WITH FFC!
Whether you’re completing your first race or shooting for a personal record, you can learn from some of Chicago’s best endurance coaches with the FFC Endurance Club!  The FFC Triathlon club and FFC Running Club can help prepare you for the Chicago Marathon, Chicago Half Marathon, Leon’s Triathlon, Chicago Triathlon and many more!

RACE WITH FFC!
FFC Members can save on race registration fees with the following discount codes! Be sure to join the FFC Endurance Club for training and to save on dozens of other local triathlon and running events!

    • Leon’s Triathlon – use code FCCMEMBER15 by April 5!
    • Chicago Triathlon – use code TEAM15TMON by July 31!
    • Chicago Half Marathon – use code TRICHM15

Contact coaches Chris and Cassisdy at endurance@ffc.com with questions or to sign up.

 

 

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FREE injury Screenings

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There’s really no reason not to visit a certified physical therapist, especially when it’s complimentary. You work your body hard, you owe yourself a check-in to make sure you’re staying in tip top condition. Non-members welcome, call ahead to reserve a spot.

Oak Park – Monday, April 6. 4-6 pm
Halsted Street – Thursday, April 9. 5:30-7:30 pm
Union Station – Wednesday, April 22. 11 am -1 pm
Lincoln Park – Thursday, April 23. 5-7 pm
East Lakeview – Tuesday, April 28. 5:45-7:15 pm
South Loop – Wednesday, April 29. 4-7 pm
West Loop – Wednesday, April 29. 4:30-6 pm

 

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Spring Training at the Spa

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Get your body ready for both workout training and recovery in the same session!
Special this month:  A package of three 60-Minute Deep Tissue or Sports Massages is only $234 (save $12 each on single session price)! And get a FREE FFC T-Shirt with purchase*!
*While supplies last. All sizes not available at all locations

Put Your Best Face Forward
Regular facials help to keep your skin from looking dry and tired, and prematurely aged.  We’ll help your skin recover from the winter elements and prepare you for the summer sun!
Special this month: Three 60-Minute Facial Series for $229, PLUS 15% off a product purchase*!
*Discount on product available with receipt of facial series. Valid one time only

Book your appointment at the Spa today! Offers expire 4/30/15. May not be combined with other offers

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Proms, Weddings and Parties, Oh My!

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Don’t worry, rain showers don’t have to keep you from looking great in your Spring outfit!

Get an Ortanic tan in April for just $35.  Upgrade to a deluxe tan for just $5 more. Book your appointment today!
Offers expire 4/30/15. May not be combined with other offers

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Controlling Cravings

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What I adore about being a registered dietitian is the fact that nutrition science evolves daily. I constantly learn about my passion and get to share the fascinating research in a fun way.

A common goal for many of my clients is finding ways to control a craving. Can you relate? If so, put yourself in this scenario:

You crave a little something extra after dinner, per usual, and satisfy the uber healthy way.

High five for super-food swapping! However that “snack” just added up to as many calories as a fourth meal, deterring your weight loss goals. I stumbled upon a super-intriguing research article that suggests bad belly bacteria may be to blame for your food cravings!

Here’s the deal: Bad gut bacteria affects our mood and impacts our hormones, therefore we can’t justify the fact that cravings are only a matter of self-control. Instead, cravings may be a result from the army of bad bugs in our gut!

Here’s the fix: Become a fermented foodie. Boost your beneficial bacteria army so you can overcome the “bad guys” and conquer cravings for good. Add a daily dose of probiotic powerhouses with the inspiration below:

  • Make coconut yogurt (fermented coconut milk) the base of a breakfast parfait. Layer with oats, berries & nuts.
  • Top cooked grains with a dollop of Kimchi (fermented cabbage) & a fried egg.
  • Celebrate happy hour kombucha (fermented tea) style.
  • To spruce up salads, add a miso (fermented soybeans) tahini dressing. Simply mix miso paste with tahini and warm water.

Blog courtesy of Fitness Formula Clubs Registered Dietitian Jessica Dogert RD, LDN, CPT. Contact Jessica at jdogert@ffc.com.

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Fit Fido

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Join us and our friends from K9 University for our third Fit Fido event Sunday, May 17 from 12-2 pm! Now that the weather is cooperating a little more, there is the option for outdoor playtime, in addition to canine massage, treats for both humans and dogs, and more! Stay tuned to your club’s Facebook page for more details!

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Uncovering the Secret Foundation to Exercise

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Missing something from your workout? Join us for a 4-part lecture series where we will discuss posture, core strength, breath and flexibility. Learn how lack of understanding or use of these crucial fundamentals could be holding you back from achieving optimal performance, not only in athletics, but also in your daily life.

  • Saturday, April 4: Posture and Core Strength
  • Sunday, April 12: Breath
  • Saturday, April 18: Flexibility
  • Sunday, April 26: Achieving Optimal Performance

All lectures will take place at 2 pm in Group Exercise Studio 1. Registration is not required, but encouraged for FFC Members. Non-members are welcome, but guests must pre-register prior to the lecture. All classes will fill on a first come, first serve basis.

For more information or to register, please contact the Pilates Coordinator, Rachel Sutter, at rsutter@ffc.com.

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Welcome New Trainer, Alena!

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We’re excited to welcome Alena Scarver to the FFC East Lakeview family! Alena specializes in body weight and functional movement, self defense, weight loss, and toning and kettlebell conditioning. If you have any questions about your current program or fitness in general or if you just want to say hello, she will be here in the club to offer her assistance!

Join her for Kettlebells 101 to learn the basics of using this unique piece of equipment to up the ante in your workouts, Mondays at 7 pm and Sundays at 9 am. Email her to set up your free 30-minute consultation, and to learn more about her new class, at ascarver@ffc.com.

 

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New Power Rack

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FFC East Lakeview has recently added a Hammer Strength HD Elite Power Rack that will allow you to perform upper body, lower body and band exercises, and features additional accessories to add variety to your training. For more information on how to incorporate this into your workout, ask one of our staff of expert personal trainers or email John Beale, Fitness Director, to set up an appointment at jbeale@ffc.com.

 

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Women’s Boot Camp

Bootcamp-best-chicago-crossfit-gym-clubLadies, even though it doesn’t seem like it will ever get here, summer is on its way! Get in your best shape yet with a boot camp designed especially for you! Choose a four-week camp once or twice a week. $120 once per week, $215 twice per week.

  • Wednesdays, 7-8 pm
  • Sundays, 11 am – 12 pm

Contact Caitlin with questions or to register at cakey@ffc.com.

 

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Happy Easter

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In observance of the upcoming holiday weekend, the Clubs will operate as follows:

East Lakeview, Gold Coast, Lincoln Park, Oak Park
Friday, April 3 – Saturday, April 4: Regular Club Hours
Sunday, April 5: 7 am – 3 pm

Halsted Street, Old Town, South Loop, Union Station, West Loop
Friday, April 3 – Saturday, April 4: Regular Club Hours
Sunday, April 5: 8 am – 3 pm

Thank you and happy Easter!

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Spring Running Club

Spring-Training-Best-chicago-gym-running-marathon-training-clubJoin the FFC Running Club to prepare for the Shamrock Shuffle, Soldier Field 10 Miler, and Chicago Spring Half Marathon! This 9-week training program runs March 23 – May 23 for $80 per month. As a member of the club, you can look forward to:

  • Entry into RunMonster 1-Mile and Indoor 5k races!
  • Long runs 8 am Sundays at FFC South Loop
  • Track runs 6 pm Thursdays at FFC Gold Coast
  • High Intensity Interval Training at FFC Lincoln Park’s Performance Training Center
  • Pre- and post-race team gatherings
  • Team social events and fun runs

Contact Coaches Chris and Cassidy at endurance@ffc.com with questions and to sign up.

 

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March is National Nutrition Month

National-Nutrition-Month-best-chicago-gym-club-weight-lossWhile fueling your body with peak nutrition should be a year-round event, this month it’s even more important. Why? March is National Nutrition Month! Use this month to set healthy habits that you can continue year round. Avoid ups and downs with “fad diets” and simply provide your body with the nutrients it wants. Follow the guidelines in our January article and check on what you still need to adhere to. Also, add in these healthy habits to improve your nutrition and health from head to toe:

Fuel Your Mind: A diet that encourages blood flow to the brain will increase brain function and memory. The brain is made up of many lipids, including the omega 3 fatty acids – and consuming these will make sure our mind stays at peak performance.

How to add it to your day: Fatty fish, such as salmon and tuna, and walnuts are two foods that contain high amounts of omega 3’s. Enjoy a spinach salad with grilled salmon and chopped walnuts for great brain benefits.

Make Your Skin Glow: Eating a variety of colors of fruits and vegetables will provide you with antioxidants to improve your skin. Lycopene, the pigment that gives tomatoes their red color, especially improved skin cellular function and defends our skin against aging and UV damage.

How to add it to your day: Snack on grape tomatoes with hummus, or saute them as a side dish to receive the benefits of lycopene. Don’t like the taste of tomatoes? Hide chopped Roma tomatoes in your fruit smoothie!

Strong Bones, Strong Body: Avoid broken bones, osteoporosis, and osteoarthritis by taking care of yourself and consuming 3 servings per day of dairy. If you are unable to consume dairy, try adding these other foods that are high in calcium and iron: canned fish with soft bones such as anchovies, salmon, and sardines, and green leafy vegetables, such as kale, spinach, mustard greens and bok choy.

How to add it to your day: Plain Greek yogurt makes for a great high protein snack. Dairy-free choice: kale and spinach both taste delicious sauteed with garlic and lemon juice.

Help Your Nails and Hair Grow: Biotin is a B vitamin found in mushrooms, fatty fish, avocado, eggs, sunflower seeds, and many other foods. Along with protein, when we don’t get enough biotin in our diet, it can leave our hair and nails in poor condition.

How to add it to your day: Try this healthy, filling, and strengthening breakfast! Whole grain toast, avocado slices, and smoked salmon.

Blog courtesy of Amy Silver, RD. Get in touch with Amy at asilver@ffc.com.

Looking to further your nutrition benefits to other parts of your body during National Nutrition Month? Ask your Registered Dietitian for more ideas specific to your needs!

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FREE Injury Screenings

8-novacare-best-chicago-gym-physical-therapyWhether you have a persistent joint pain or an aching muscle that won’t go away, there’s never a wrong time to see a physical therapist. NovaCare is located inside seven of our club locations, and are always happy to take a look. Here is March’s schedule of in-club visits. They’re coming to you!

FFC Lincoln Park:  Tuesday, March 3, 5-7pm
FFC South Loop: Saturday, March 7, 10 am – 12 pm
FFC Oak Park: Monday, March 9, 4-6pm
FFC Halsted Street:Tuesday, March 17, 5:30-7:30pm
FFC Union Station: Wednesday, March 25,12-2pm
FFC West Loop: Wednesday, March 25  4-6pm
FFC East Lakeview: Tuesday, March 31, 5-7pm

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Coming Soon!

Pilates-studio-best-chicagoDo you feel like something’s missing from your workout routine? Join us to uncover the key ingredients of a solid fitness foundation!

In this 4-part lecture series*, we will discuss posture, core strength, breathing and flexibility. Learn how a lack of practice and understanding of these crucial fundamentals could be holding you back from achieving optimal performance, not only in athletics, but also in your daily life.

*All lectures will take place at 2 pm in Group Exercise Studio 1

Saturday, April 4: Posture and Core Strength
Sunday, April 12: Breathing
Saturday, April 18: Flexibility
Sunday, April 26: Achieving Optimal Performance

Registration is not required, but encouraged for FFC Members. Non-members are welcome, but guests must pre-register prior to the lecture. All classes will fill on a first come, first serve basis.

For more information or to register, please contact the Pilates Coordinator, Rachel Sutter, at rsutter@ffc.com.

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Whirlpool Construction

Construction-best-chicago-gym-clubThe whirlpool is closed due to major structural issues. Because of the scope of this issue, we have hired an architectural firm to completely redesign the whirlpool. We have submitted these plans to the Illinois Department of Public Health and are awaiting a permit before we can begin the work. Because this approval is done by the State of Illinois, the timeline of completing this project is out of our hands. However, as soon as the permit is obtained, work will begin to not only make it operational again, but also to make several improvements to the whirlpool. Thank you for your patience while we work to fix this issue!

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March SCUBA Certification

9-best-gym-Scuba-certificationHave you ever dreamed of swimming alongside the beautiful, exotic aquatic life in the crystal blue waters of the continental coasts (or anywhere, for that matter)? Dive into your deepest adventurous desires and get SCUBA certified!

Guaranteed to provide the utmost safety and success of your dive training experience, Fitness Formula Clubs and Captain Darrick Lorenzen’s Divemax Scuba Schools, rated Number One SCUBA training agency in the Midwest, organize and guide fundamental dive training during various sessions throughout the year.

All individuals considering enrollment must attend a complimentary orientation*, then complete your basic skills course**.

*Orientation from 6-7:30 pm

  • Tuesday, March 10 at FFC Oak Park
  • Monday, March 16 at FFC Halsted Street
  • Wednesday, March 18 at FFC Union Station
  • Thursday, March 19 at FFC Lincoln Park

**Basic Skills Course

  • FFC Oak Park: Sunday, March 15, 8 am – 5 pm
  • FFC Union Station: Saturday, March 21, 7:30 am – 4 pm

For more information, or to confirm your attendance at the free orientation, please contact Captain Darrick at 773-732-8972 or captdarrick@divemaxscuba.com. Special scheduling can be accommodated. Additional fees apply for open water dives and equipment. Non-members welcome!

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Join Team Bright Pink

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Looking for a reason to run in 2015? Join Team Bright Pink for this year’s Bank of America Chicago Marathon and we’ll help you reach your goal while fundraising to fuel Bright Pink’s life-saving breast and ovarian health programs.

The professional marathon training coaches at FFC will lead you through a FREE, 18-week training program complete with seminars on stretching, injury prevention and nutrition, to name a few. Join us for fun runs and social hours, connect with other runners on our Team Bright Pink Facebook page and celebrate your incredible accomplishment with our pre-race Pasta Party and post-race Celebration Party for friends and family. The more the merrier!

Just think how great it will feel to cross that finish line knowing you not only accomplished a personal goal, but also helped to empower a generation of women to be their own best health advocates!

Don’t be the one to miss out! Spaces are limited. For further information, contact Wendy at wendy@brightpink.org.

 

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Keep Your Heart Healthy This Valentine’s

Heart-health-month-best-chicago-gym-club-studioThis Valentine’s Day, as we celebrate American Heart Month, we want you to think beyond the heart-shaped boxes filled with delectable chocolatey candy treats, over-sized stuffed creatures, and whether or not you have a date (Chicago does seem to have some great singles events on the calendar)…

According to the National Health Institute, coronary heart disease is the number one killer of men and women in the U.S. But that’s not meant to bring you down! We want you to be your healthiest and happiest, not just for Cupid’s Day, but every day, so we’ve compiled some tips. Please take them to heart…

Try these tips from the American Heart Association to stay heart healthy by managing stress:

    • Get physical – That’s right. The leading authority on heart health says to get to the gym. Better do it! We know of a good one if you need some ideas…
    • Let go of bad habits – From smoking to over worrying, there’s no time like the present to start fresh.
    • Slow down – Life ain’t a track meet. It’s a marathon. Pace, don’t race.
    • Laugh - Check out Second City. Watch a funny movie. Push someone down (just kidding… but I’ll bet that made you laugh).
    • Sleep - No brainer. Make the time.
    • Get organized – Declutter your mind by cleaning out your inbox, your closet, your fridge. Whatever keeps you up at night.
    • Relax - Deep breaths, my friend. Let go of what you can’t change. It will all be OK in the end. If it’s not OK, it’s not the end.
    • Find pleasure in your everyday life – The sun. White snow. Your family. That donut… Just kidding again!

 

 

Get fit. Union Station Fitness Director, Josh, knows how important this tip is. The heart is a muscle, so it needs to be worked like the rest of them! Cardio, strength training and stretching all improve heart health by lowering blood pressure and stress, and revving up feel-good hormones, helping keep your mood light and your mind clear:

  • Cardio - Walk on the treadmill at an incline if you’re new to exercising, or take it a step further by joining a running club or Spin class
  • Strength - Basic sit-ups, push-ups and body-weight squats are good for beginners, but you can kick it up a notch with a HIIT class or boot camp
  • Stretch: If you’re not Gumby, get in the habit of stretching in the morning or before bed. When you’re comfortable, take up a yoga or Pilates class (which have benefits all their own!)

Yoga and Pilates are good for your body, mind and spirit by helping you gain balance and focus.

    • You’ll live longer – Standing on your head reverses blood flow to the brain, giving you a boost while restoring energy to keep you young!
    • Your risk for diseases (like heart!) decrease – Meditating, focusing on your breath, staying in the moment, all help to relieve stress. Let it all go!
    • Bye bye back pain – Stretching and strengthening your back muscles help to keep you upright with no tweaks. (Listen to your body in class, and don’t overdo if you’re not comfortable)
    • Be happy – Practicing yoga releases serotonin, the “happy” hormone, which also regulates appetite, mood and sleep.
    • Let if flow - Circulation and respiration both improve as you learn to lower your respiratory rate. Better oxygen and blood flow means happy, healthy organs.
    • Yeah baby! – Women who stay fit throughout pregnancy tend to have leaner, healthier, calmer babies.

 

 

You might plan to spend the day with your two greatest loves: and one of them will be food. Registered dietitian, Jessica, suggests sticking to the following to keep your ticker in tip-top shape!

  • Salmon - Salmon contains EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids. Eat two servings a week to reap the benefits of lower blood pressure and triglyceride levels.
  • Nuts - In addition to protein, the unsaturated fats found in tree nuts lower the bad cholesterol while boosting the good. An ounce of nuts a day helps relax blood vessels and ease blood flow.
  • Apples - An apple a day keeps the doctor, and heart disease, away! The soluble fiber lowers bad cholesterol.
  • Beans - Besides protein, beans pack a punch in folate, which reduces risk of heart disease.
  • Dark chocolate – Yay chocolate! The flavonoids found in cacao contain magnesium, which is essential for normal heart function.
  • Superstitious? Kick your Valentine’s night into high gear with Maca root, honey, avocado, curry, ginger and parsley! Ask Jessica why at jdogert@ffc.com.

Just because you can have chocolate doesn’t mean you should go overboard… Remember, everything in moderation! Check out Registered Dietitian, Carla’s, nutrition blog for more heart-healthy tips!
Blog courtesy of Allie Kuopus, Social Media and Communications Manager. Contact Allie at akuopus@ffc.com.

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5 Tips for a Heart Healthy Valentine’s

Nutrition-Healthy-heart-best-chicago-gym-club-weight-lossNot only is February the month of love, but it is also American Heart Month. With Valentine’s Day being the candy layover between the winter holidays and Easter, the desire to sugar binge and candy horde is only natural, which makes reconciling Valentine’s Day and healthy Heart Month a difficult task indeed.

1. Whole-grain breakfast: Try cutting out a heart-shaped whole-grain piece of toast or waffle, then top with vanilla Greek yogurt, sliced strawberries and cinnamon.
Heart healthy tip: The fiber in whole grains helps to lower blood cholesterol levels and may reduce your risk for heart disease.

2. Get physical: Couples and families that play together, stay (healthy) together!  Get out and find fun physical activities to share with your loved one(s) such as building a snowman, going skiing or ice skating, and working out.
Heart healthy tip: The American Heart Association recommends that you strive to get at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day as part of a heart healthy lifestyle.

3. Be Nutty: What better way is there to let someone know that you’re crazy about them than attaching an “I’m nuts for you!” note on a snack bag of mixed nuts? It’s a great way to say something sweet and give your Valentine a healthy treat.
Heart healthy tip: Not only are nuts packed with protein, they are also a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids. Research has shown that Omega-3 fatty acids may help to decrease the risk of arrhythmias, lower triglyceride levels and slow the growth of atherosclerotic plaques.

4. Sweets for your sweetie: When choosing sweets, opt for a piece of minimally processed dark chocolate.
Heart healthy tip: Cocoa contains compounds called flavonoids that have antioxidant properties. Research has shown that flavonoids may have a beneficial impact on vascular health by improving blood flow and lowering blood pressure.
Heart healthy tip follow-up: While the flavonoids in cocoa may be beneficial for heart health, excessive fat and sugar consumption can lead to weight gain, which is certainly not heart healthy! To strike a healthy balance, limit chocolate intake to moderate portions (about 1 oz.) several times a week.

5. Fantastically Fruity Snacks: Let your Valentine know that “I’m bananas for you” or that they are “the apple of your eye” because you guys “make such a great pear.” Sounds “plum perfect” to me!
Heart healthy tip: Fruits are jam-packed full of vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants, which studies have shown can work to lower both cholesterol and blood pressure as well as reduce the buildup of plaque in arteries.

Blog courtesy of Carla Schmitz, MS, RDN, LDN. Contact Carla at cschmitz@ffc.com.

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Live to Wynn Lifetime Series

live-to-wynn-best-chicago-gym-club-weight-lossFitness Formula Clubs is the proud sponsor of the Live To Wynn Lifestyle Series. The Art of Sophisticated Living event will take place at Park Hyatt Chicago on Sunday, March 8. This life-changing and opulent experience was created for men and women who desire to live a happier, healthier lifestyle. Participants will learn from the best in the fitness, culinary, wellness and skincare industries how to make themselves a top priority in 2015. Register today and save $24 if you sign up by February 23!

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FREE Injury Screenings

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There are plenty of reasons to see a physical therapist, even if you don’t think you need to. Whether you have a full-blown injury that keeps you out of the gym, or a persistent pain that you’d like to see gone, come to one of the following free screenings, where NovaCare’s expert staff will tell you what’s what.

FFC Lincoln Park: Thursday, Feb. 5, 5:30-7 pm
FFC South Loop: Monday, Feb. 9, 5-7 pm
FFC Oak Park: Monday, Feb. 9, 5-7 pm
FFC Halsted Street: Tuesday, Feb. 10, 5:30-7:30 pm
FFC East Lakeview: Tuesday, Feb. 24, 5-7 pm
FFC Union Station: Wednesday, Feb. 25, 12-2 pm
FFC West Loop: Wednesday, Feb. 25, 4-6 pm

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Dance Your Heart Out

dance-your-heart-best-chicago-group-fitness-exercise-class-gym-clubGroup Fitness Manager extraordinaire, Lois, has put together a special dance class we hope everyone will try! You are welcome to come to any class at any club, even if it’s not your home club! Free for members, $10 for guests. There will even be a sign up for a special spa bonus!

Friday, Feb. 13
FFC Gold Coast – 5:45 pm
FFC West Loop – 6:15 pm
FFC East Lakeview – 6:30 pm

Saturday, Feb. 14
FFC Gold Coast – 11 am
FFC Oak Park – 11:30 am

Sunday, Feb. 15
FFC South Loop – 9 am
FFC Halsted Street – 3 pm

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Prenatal Fitness and Pilates

Prenatal_pilates-pregnancy-fitness-best-chicago-gym-club-studioStaying fit throughout pregnancy and beyond has health benefits not only for mom, but also for baby. Two Certified Prenatal Pilates Trainers from FFC East Lakeview are proud to offer:

  • Prenatal Pilates: Sundays, 11:45 am with Rachel, Pilates coordinator. rsutter@ffc.com
  • Prenatal Boot Camp: Wednesdays, 6pm with Madeleine, personal trainer.  mhart@ffc.com
  • Sign up for 8 sessions: $224 for members, $304 for non-members.

Benefits for mom

  • Staying active and fit in a safe way throughout the duration of pregnancy. Since some modifications need to be made as the pregnancy progresses, as well as after the delivery, it’s most important to Rachel that moms are educated and actively making safe choices through their pre- and postnatal experiences.
  • Keeping moms’ muscles and bodies appropriately balanced, stretched and strong to alleviate some of the aches and pains that come with the major changes happening in pre- and post-natal women’s bodies.
  • Focusing on positions and muscles used during labor and delivery.
  • Another huge benefit of the prenatal group is that it creates a health-focused, non-judgmental community where women can talk freely about what they are going through, share their concerns and ask questions (Rachel says she learns something new in class every week, and her participants do, too!).

Benefits for baby

  • Tend to be leaner – Less body fat, not necessarily smaller
  • Better self-soothers – Less cranky and less likely to have colic
  • Higher general intelligence scores and better oral language skills all the way to age 5
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Pilates Forces Fusion

pilates-fusion-east-lakeview-best-chicago-gym-clubJoin Chicago’s Best Health Club (that’s us!) for a new Pilates boot camp designed to increase your stamina, strength, stability and flexibility!

  • 20 minutes: Pilates on the Equipment
  • 20 minutes: Endurance/Strength Training
  • 10 minutes: Stretch

Wednesdays and Fridays, 6 am. $120 per month once a week, $224 per month twice a week. Contact Justin, hybrid trainer, at jkam@ffc.com and try a complimentary class!

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Member of the Month

member-of-month-all-best-chicago-gym-club-spaCongratulations to Charlie Rice-Minoso, FFC East Lakeview’s Member of the Month! We wanted to know a little more about Charlie, so we asked…

What does membership at FFC mean to you?
A supportive community that supports me and motivates me to achieve my fitness goals.

When at FFC, where can you be found?
In the front row at one of Kelly’s classes or on a treadmill.

What gets you pumped?
David Guetta, Sia, Calvin Harris… anything fast paced with a motivational undertone.

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Everyone’s Training for Something

training-best-chicago-gymEveryone’s training for something, whether it’s your overall health or just being fit enough to catch that darn El. FFC wants to help you get there, and is so confident it can, it offers the Results Guaranteed promise for new and existing members: Try the club or personal training for 30 days, and if you don’t see results, get your money back.

With so many options for fitness and wellness in the Chicagoland area, FFC stands out by being a one-stop shop. Whether you like to work up a sweat or prefer to be pampered, FFC has something for everyone, including staffed registered dietitians, rock climbing walls, unlimited group exercise classes, boxing and martial arts, fully loaded Pilates studios, hot yoga studios, sundecks, steam and sauna rooms, laundry service, a full-service spa, custom airbrush tanning, and one of only two USA Triathlon Certified Training Centers in the Midwest.

lose-to-win-weight-loss-challenge-best-chicago-gym-club

Lose to Win

lose-to-win-weight-loss-challenge-best-chicago-gym-clubIt’s back Jan. 19-Feb. 28!

Includes:

  • A technical shirt
  • Weekly weigh-ins: Attend for entries into a drawing for prizes!
  • One nutrition lecture
  • One strength/cardio workout twice per week
  • 10% discount on fitness services purchased between Jan. 19-25 (after payment of Lose to Win contest is processed)
  • Each club male and female champion will be entered into company-wide raffle for training services!

$49 for members, $99 for non-members. For more information, visit the website.

Running-Banner

Make Your 2015 “Runolution!”

Running-BannerThis new year, resolve to motivate yourself to get outside! While it’s very popular to feel peer pressure to workout indoors at the gym in January as a New Year’s Resolution, try to challenge yourself to run outside more, and reap the benefits of being outdoors! Vitamin D deficiency is a real problem for Chicagoans who frequently deal with commuting in the dark to and from work, rarely seeing the sun during the winter months.

With shortened days, you have to get creative to make the most of your opportunities, so use our tips below to make the most of your winter training!

Committing to a “challenge” is a great way to motivate yourself through the winter, whether it be through an online run-logging competition or an in-person weight loss challenge!

Sign up for a race - Even though the weather is unpredictable, signing up for an outdoor race during the winter can be a fun adventure. If Mother Nature throws a curveball, embrace the winter challenge and simply treat your race as a fun run with no expectations of a finish time. Simply enjoy being outdoors in the middle of the winter (it’s possible, we promise)! Join the FFC RunMonster Running Club at the F3 Lake Half Marathon this January – use our FFC team discount code TRIMONSTER to save $8!

Run with a group – Running with a group is fun and motivating, and breeds accountability to show up! Recruit some friends and you’ll never miss another training session. You can also join FFC’s Running Club, RunMonster for weekly workouts, whether it’s the interval-focused indoor track workouts at FFC Gold Coast every Thursday at 6:30 pm, or the FFC South Loop long runs at 8 am Sundays (followed by the popular BeerMonster Brunch social hours at the Scout Waterhouse). Meet new friends and enjoy the outdoors!

Run during lunch – Get outside during the day when temperatures are warmest and sunshine is brightest (we hope). Simply bring your run gear to work and take a lunch break to run outdoors instead of in! Celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day alongside FFC’s Running Coaches for a lunchtime Fun Run Monday, Jan. 19 at Daley Park!

Try an Indoor Tri – If getting outdoors is a challenge, consider simply motivating yourself with a different indoor challenge. Don’t know how to swim? Join FFC’s Swim Technique classes or the FFC Indoor Triathlon Training Program and learn to improve your swimming. Then sign up and compete in the FFC Indoor Triathlon & Duathlon Series, the best indoor triathlon in all of Chicagoland! Even if swimming is not your thing, we have new a duathlon (run-bike-run) and team relay divisions this year, so truly anyone can compete to win prizes. Beginners even get their own award divisions! You never know, you might earn an age group medal while discovering a new passion and hobby!

We hope you can enjoy taking advantage of a few of these tips to make the most of your winter.  Staying motivated and consistent is a great way to avoid cabin fever and breeze through your winter months. Before you know it, you’ll be enjoying a great spring running season!

Blog courtesy of Chris Navin, Head Endurance Coach. Contact Chris with questions or for more information about any of the TriMonster programs at endurance@ffc.com.

This new year, resolve to motivate yourself to get outside! While it’s very popular to feel peer pressure to workout indoors at the gym in January as a New Year’s Resolution, try to challenge yourself to run outside more, and reap the benefits of being outdoors! Vitamin D deficiency is a real problem for Chicagoans who frequently deal with commuting in the dark to and from work, rarely seeing the sun during the winter months.

With shortened days, you have to get creative to make the most of your opportunities, so use our tips below to make the most of your winter training!

Committing to a “challenge” is a great way to motivate yourself through the winter, whether it be through an online run-logging competition or an in-person weight loss challenge!

Sign up for a race - Even though the weather is unpredictable, signing up for an outdoor race during the winter can be a fun adventure. If Mother Nature throws a curveball, embrace the winter challenge and simply treat your race as a fun run with no expectations of a finish time. Simply enjoy being outdoors in the middle of the winter (it’s possible, we promise)! Join the FFC RunMonster Running Club at the F3 Lake Half Marathon this January – use our FFC team discount code TRIMONSTER to save $8!

Run with a group – Running with a group is fun and motivating, and breeds accountability to show up! Recruit some friends and you’ll never miss another training session. You can also join FFC’s Running Club, RunMonster for weekly workouts, whether it’s the interval-focused indoor track workouts at FFC Gold Coast every Thursday at 6:30 pm, or the FFC South Loop long runs at 8 am Sundays (followed by the popular BeerMonster Brunch social hours at the Scout Waterhouse). Meet new friends and enjoy the outdoors!

Run during lunch – Get outside during the day when temperatures are warmest and sunshine is brightest (we hope). Simply bring your run gear to work and take a lunch break to run outdoors instead of in! Celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day alongside FFC’s Running Coaches for a lunchtime Fun Run Monday, Jan. 19 at Daley Park!

Try an Indoor Tri – If getting outdoors is a challenge, consider simply motivating yourself with a different indoor challenge. Don’t know how to swim? Join FFC’s Swim Technique classes or the FFC Indoor Triathlon Training Program and learn to improve your swimming. Then sign up and compete in the FFC Indoor Triathlon & Duathlon Series, the best indoor triathlon in all of Chicagoland! Even if swimming is not your thing, we have new a duathlon (run-bike-run) and team relay divisions this year, so truly anyone can compete to win prizes. Beginners even get their own award divisions! You never know, you might earn an age group medal while discovering a new passion and hobby!

We hope you can enjoy taking advantage of a few of these tips to make the most of your winter.  Staying motivated and consistent is a great way to avoid cabin fever and breeze through your winter months. Before you know it, you’ll be enjoying a great spring running season!

Blog courtesy of Chris Navin, Head Endurance Coach. Contact Chris with questions or for more information about any of the TriMonster programs at endurance@ffc.com.

Indoor-Triathlon-best-chicago-gym

Calling All Triathletes!

Indoor-Triathlon-best-chicago-gym16th Annual Indoor Triathlon/Duathlon Series

Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or a newbie who has yet to test the waters, have you ever considered trying an indoor tri? FFC has events spanning four clubs February-March, and a Chicago Championship Final Saturday, April 4. Compete against your friends and fellow athletes to come away as the top individual or team!

If you need help training, we’re here for you. Indoor triathlon-specific training will run January 13-March 7. Attend the informational session Tuesday, Jan. 6 at FFC Lincoln Park, 7:30 pm, visit the website, or contact Coaches Chris and Cassidy at endurance@ffc.com for more information.

National Challenge Competition

Are you a member of USA Triathlon? If not, you can still sign up and join FFC’s team in the National Challenge Competition (NCC)! Get excited to train offseason and log the most miles to win prizes!

  • Log your bike workouts in January and your runs in February
  • Get ranked with athletes in your age group nationwide
  • Win prizes each month and at the end of the competition

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Spin to Break the Cycle 2015

Spin-to-break-the-cycle-best-chicago-gym-club-class

Going the Distance to Stop Violence. Why Do You Spin?

Join teams and individuals from across the city to come together for a great cause, raising funds for World Sport Chicago, an non-profit organization that teaches positive values and leadership through sport to Chicago’s underserved youth, building stronger, safer communities in Chicago.

Programs that will benefit from this event include:

Nine of your favorite FFC instructors will get your hearts pumping as a live DJ blasts high energy music to keep you inspired on your ride Saturday, April 18 at the House of Blues Chicago! The first workout starts at 8 am, with a new workout every hour through 5 pm. Riders can look forward to massage, pampering and more after you’ve spinned your socks off. And, if you go above your fundraising goals, you could earn exciting rewards like airline certificates, sports tickets or exclusive experiences!

Sign up for your favorite FFC instructor’s team!

  • 8 am: Kandace Kaiser – FFC Union Station
  • 9 am: Bill Bower – FFC Oak Park
  • 10 am: Melissa Gurule – FFC Halsted Street
  • 11 am: Jennifer Dahl – FFC East Lakeview
  • 12 pm: Arthur Reipenhoff – FFC Gold Coast
  • 1 pm: Aaron Foster – FFC South Loop
  • 2 pm: Chris Navin – FFC Lincoln Park
  • 3 pm: David Bohn – FFC West Loop
  • 4 pm: Aaron Foster – FFC Old Town

If you can’t or don’t want to ride, be a supporter as a member of the FFC Crew! The reception will include a complimentary drink, appetizer lounge, spectator lounge, games, prizes and more! FFC raised more than $160,000 last year. Think we can do better than that in 2015?!

For more details, and to join an FFC team or start your own, visit World Sport Chicago.

Nutrition-best-chicago-dietitian

Small Changes. Big Rewards

Nutrition-best-chicago-dietitianHave you ever made a New Year’s Resolution to “lose weight,” “get in shape,” or “be healthier,” only to find that, come February, you’ve reverted back to old habits? You’re not alone. In fact, 88% of Americans who set resolutions fail to make them work. There are are number of reasons why this happens – the resolutions are too lofty, we pick too many, we give up when the going gets tough – but it’s not an inevitable fate. Check out our tips below, and make 2015 the last time “getting healthy” is simply your “New Year’s Resolution.”

Include protein in every meal and snack – Protein helps us feel fuller longer, which helps keep hunger pangs at bay, and ultimately may reduce the likelihood of overeating. Not sure how much to have? A good rule of thumb is to make at least a third of each meal and snack a source of lean protein.

Don’t fear fat – “Healthy” fats, like those found in nuts, seeds, avocados and salmon, not only help to prevent belly fat, but they’ve also been shown to raise “good” HDL cholesterol, lower “bad” LDL cholesterol, boost brain function, and keep the eyes and skin healthy.

Eat breakfast – While every meal is important, breakfast is arguably the most important because of all of the benefits it incurs. Eating breakfast is incredibly beneficial for weight loss because it helps to reduce hunger throughout the day, thereby preventing overeating. Eating in the a.m. has the added bonus of revving your metabolism back up to speed after being slowed overnight during sleep. Additionally, starting your day with a healthy breakfast has been shown to increase concentration, help stabilize blood sugar, boost energy levels and improve memory.

Shop the perimeter – What do candy, soda, juice, chips, snack cakes and other highly processed foods have in common? Other than being unhealthy, they can all be found in the center of the grocery store. Foods that are perishable – think fruits, vegetables, meat, fish and dairy – are located around the perimeter of the store due to their need for refrigeration. These foods are typically healthier than their “convenience food” counterparts in the middle aisles.

Cut out soda – The average American drinks more than 38 GALLONS of soda per year, which contributes enough calories to cause a weight gain of more than 16 pounds! Cut it out of your diet and you’re well on your way to a healthier body.

Drink more water – What will you drink if you can’t have soda? Water is your best bet. Adequate hydration is one of the best things you can do for you body. It’s necessary for almost all components of proper physiological function, including digestion, waste and toxin removal, nutrient distribution throughout the body, temperature regulation and brain function. The optimal amount varies person to person, but generally speaking is roughly half your bodyweight in ounces of water each day.

Watch your portions – Our perception of proper serving sizes is often skewed by restaurants’ giant portions, or confused by the food industry’s labeling practices. It’s no wonder portion control is challenging for many of us. Next time you’re preparing food, use measuring cups and spoons to dole out servings so you can begin to retrain your brain to eat more appropriate amounts. Still feel like you aren’t eating enough to be satisfied? Try using smaller bowls, plates, and cups, which will make you feel like you’re getting more, even if you aren’t.

Get some sleep – Like breakfast, water and many of the other things mentioned above, sleep is crucial for a healthy body. One of the main reasons adequate sleep is vital from a weight loss perspective is for its ability to regulate appetite. When we get fewer than seven hours of sleep, two important hormones, ghrelin and leptin, are thrown out of balance, resulting in increased hunger and decreased appetite control. In addition, lack of sleep can increase insulin resistance and stress hormone levels, which can also be detrimental to weight loss and overall health.

Blog courtesy of Carrie Linke, MS, RD, LDN. To learn more about FFC’s nutrition services, contact Carrie at clinke@ffc.com.

 

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Winter Group Fitness Schedule

Pound-Best-chicago-group-fitness-class-gym-clubA new season calls for a new schedule, wouldn’t you say? We’re mixing it up with a new winter schedule starting Monday, Jan. 5. You can search by specific club, instructor or even class to find out when and where your favorites will be next. And don’t forget to program all of these into your FFC app so you never miss another opportunity!